Richard Mille's $2 million watch already sold out

Watch world's 'mad genius' attract uber rich
Watch world's 'mad genius' attract uber rich

There's a reason Richard Mille watches are known as "the secret billionaire's handshake." The brand is largely known only among the billionaires (and the occasional nine-digit millionaire) who can afford them.

But now Mille has taken prices, and watchmaking, to a new extreme with his latest watch, which touts a $2.2 million price tag.

However, even if you can afford it, don't bother trying to buy one—it's already sold out. In an interview on CNBC Tuesday, Mille said all 10 of the RM 56-02 Sapphire Tourbillon watches he plans to make have already been ordered.

"They're all sold," he said. "All of them."

The RM 56-02 is based on the RM 27-01, which is the model made for tennis star Rafael Nadal. And it's got all the high-tech wizardry and physics-defying properties that make Mille watches such a status badge for the rich.

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The 56-02 incorporates a cable-suspension system within transparent sapphire. The baseplate is made from grade 5 titanium and suspended within the watchcase by a single braided cable that is only 0.35 millimeters thick, and woven within a system of four pulleys at the movement's corners and another six pulleys placed along the movement's periphery.

The RM 56-02 watch incorporates a cable-suspension system within transparent sapphire. Although it sells for $2.2 million, all 10 of the watches that are being made have sold.
Source: Richard Mille

To create one case for the watch takes 40 continuous days of machining and an additional 400 hours of machining and finishing for the different movement bridges.

Mille said business for his watches is booming, and that's despite the high prices, which start at $170,000 and rise from there.

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"It's unbelievable," he said, when asked about his sales. "The growth is incredible."

Mille makes only 3,000 watches a year, compared with the hundreds of thousands made by Rolex and others. So he's a niche brand. Yet he said he's not feeling any threat from the advent of smartwatches or other tech gadgets that are quickly replacing standard watches.

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"I don't have a problem" with smartwatches, Mille said. "I mean, you can have an electric car to drive in the city and then you love to have your Ferrari or Bentley to drive to the countryside."

That may give those who can't buy the new RM 56-02 an idea. At least, they can buy a fleet of Ferraris instead.

—By CNBC's Robert Frank.